Swansea City Review: A Win is a Win is a Win

Arsenal 2 – 1 Swansea City

A win it was but without the fluidity of victory at Goodison Park. At home, we reverted to type; a sloppily conceded goal and hard work in retrieving the situation.

Aaron Ramsey scored the winner and it’s harder to work out what he enjoyed more; the fact that it was his 50th for the club or a Cardiff-lad sinking Swansea. Does the latter come into it? As a supporter, you think it does but as a player? Who knows but it’s a nice thought for him.

Arsène, for once, saw a milestone match end in victory. 800 Premier League games in charge leaves him just 10 behind Fergie, but the debacle of the 1,000th match always haunts these occasions.

Ramsey’s winner came after Sead Kolasinac followed up on some strong centre-forward play from Alexandre Lacazette with a rasping finish. Unexpected sources for goals? Certainly in the context of the build-up for the match which focused only on the Frenchman, Özil and Sanchez.

Wenger praised the Bosnian’s contribution, which with a goal and an assist nailed him into the Man of the Match award. Withdrawn due to injury, Wenger revealed the summer signing is struggling with a hip-bone-connected-to-the-thigh-bone injury. It’s nothing new and the Frenchman observing that “we managed to get him always available” is particularly reassuring. That said, until it becomes a problem, is it a problem?

At half-time, Arsène told the team to pass quicker, more accurately; you know, the same old problems, so the solution wasn’t too hard to find. We’re well-versed in that one. Post-match, Wenger said that being in charge for 800 matches gave him a sense of déjà vu; he’s not the only one, we’d seen this one before on more than one occasion.

A Shy, Bald, Buddhist

It was no surprise that Swansea took the lead. They are a team whom we have plenty of problems against at home, even in the 1980s when they were promoted through the divisions to the top flight.

The defending for the goal, well, calling it defending is the loosest possible description of the word. The Arsenal right was carved open with frightening ease. Bellerin, dragged too far inside earlier in the move left the lumbering Cech exposed; Clucas finished well.

Cech, a fine goalkeeper on his day, is having too many days when mistakes are creeping in. A younger goalkeeper, more assured than Ospina, is a priority next summer in among all of the other signings we need to make.

Looking ahead is always daunting prospect, particularly with Manchester City in good form and punishing sides who let them attack. We’re that kind of side unless we can dredge the performance at Chelsea from within. Certainly, that kind of defending will see on the wrong end of a thrashing. The problem is that we have this kind of defending in us as often as we have a strong display; you just never know which one is coming, he said in a Forrest Gump moment.

The good part of yesterday was the flurry of activity from Alexis and Lacazette. Özil was Özil; flitting in and out of the game, stifled and a free spirit in equal measure. The trio were built up before the game, with the usual footballing bravado.

It was almost odds on that none of them would score yesterday; that’s the way football rolls. They weren’t bad yesterday just not the prolific goalscoring machine the pre-match had built them up to be. We do like to raise our expectations, only to see them cut off at the knees.

The Last Ten Seconds of Life

Kolasinac, with his display, is the name on the tip of everyone’s tongue. inadvertently, he also dropped the manager in the cart. He was, the question went, proof that there are still bargains to be had in the transfer market. Alexis Sanchez on a free transfer next summer is going to be an even bigger steal, just to reignite the debate from last week’s toxic AGM.

The win took us briefly into fourth, before we slipped back to fifth. While we travel to the Etihad, Chelsea and Manchester United square off against each other so the reality is this was three points we desperately needed. And we took them which is just about all you can ask of people.

’til Tomorrow.

18 thoughts on “Swansea City Review: A Win is a Win is a Win

  1. Good afternoon folks, yup three points that’s really what it’s all about. Never mind the lacklustre first half and the scattered boos as the teams left the field, a better second half tidied things up a bit.

    Cech copped some grief from the TV pundits. Quite rightly they questioned his action in coming off his line suggesting that he would have stood a better chance of saving the shot had he stayed put. He may also have done better if he had dived at the ball and used his hands to get to it rather than trying with his feet. Perhaps his reluctance to do so is a result of his previous serious head injury.

    One oddity in the substitutions, a right sided centre back, Holding, replacing a left sided wing back, Kolasinac, with Monreal still on the pitch. Was Wenger secretly brought up in Norfolk were a popular saying is “Du you diffrunt bor!”

  2. Nice one, YW.

    A fabled Fourth place, then Fifth all in a day. Of course after we play Man City and then the Spuds in the next two games we could look back at this halcyon day with great nostalgia. 😀

  3. Afternoon,

    We still huff and puff when coming up against a team that parks the bus, but we also like to make it tougher for ourselves by conceding a poor goal. We’ve struggled to get the job done in that situation on occasion, so getting the 3 points was everything yesterday. It was a so so performance, but we did what was needed.
    The 3 up front were not as effective as against Everton, but I don’t think any of them were guilty of not putting the effort in. The way they lined yesterday with Ramsey in the middle behind us gives us 4 players on the pitch who can score or assist. I’d prefer that we had a better defensive midfielder on the pitch if we are playing Ramsey, but Xhaka did provide some nice deliveries once he had been involved in the second goal. Unless we are going to develop him into a Pirlo-like role, I can’t see that it makes sense to lose the more defensive cover we would get in the middle from Elneny or LeCoq.

  4. Hi Wavey,

    I pretty much concur with your assessment, and I think you have a point regarding the defensive midfielder — until you mention Le Coq and Elneny.

    If we go that route we should be buying a rather better quality defender than either of those two.
    I just do not think now and never have thought, that Le Coq is the correct standard for Arsenal, and Elneny is a more creative and vigorous midfielder, but is not particularly defensive.

    Incidentally, thanks for the streaming tip — I will try it another day, as I had to depend on truncated highlights which were useless frankly.

  5. just my tuppence worth but why would we need a DM in a 343?

    are 3 CBs and two wing backs not enough to hold a solid line?

    i never liked this formation but its growing on me as its perfectly built for a team that plays the way we do.

    much the same way we dont need a box to box mid as its now the wingbacks that do the shuttle running,
    we dont need a DM becuase weve got 3 CB’s….

    we need a ‘QB’

    we need someone who sits in front of the defence and sprays the passes for the wing backs and 4 main attackers to latch onto without losing possession.

    losing possession and individual mistakes is costing us more defensively..someone who sits in front of the defence to simply defend wont change that.

    cazorla would probably be the best option. surprised nobody mentioned him.

    anyway – good write up..and good win yesterday.

  6. JonJon,

    In theory you’re quite right. But our defenders do not hold their positions. At one point yesterday our left wing back, Kolasinac, was overlapped by our left centre back, Monreal with our right wing back, Bellerin also in an advanced position. This left the not so mobile Koscielny supported by the even less mobile Mertesaker. Not a good situation to be in.

  7. orson

    quite correct, but thats a coaching thing, possibly mentality..
    we have to be disciplined enough to not employ the chaaaaarge of the light brigade policy which so often fails us..

  8. I think this was one of Ramsey’s better games and beginning to suspect that he is the informal captain of the team!

    He’s shouting and gesturing to the others of what to do, where to stand and where to run and they don’t seem to object. I’ve been in the wrong before but that strikes me as what captains and leaders do?

    It also have some merit in explaining why he seems to have a sort of free role in the team and is back in the starting eleven the minute he can walk?

  9. Thanks for the review. Every game we play against lower table teams at home is almost a must win if we want to have any chance of 4th place. Job well done.

    Regarding our new and improved front 3, at least so far it’s been underwhelming. 10 games with 7 goals and 4 assists is not the sort of stuff that legends are built around. I think Lacazette is a 1 goal every other game type striker which is exactly what we have gotten so far. Özil is what he is so I think we can’t expect a lot more out of those 2. Sanchez is the one who can give us a lot more production. Hopefully he will pick it up.

  10. If Sanchez does not start scoring then we have to hope for a lot more clean sheets and goals from Kolasinac and Ramsey. I understand why Ramsey divides opinions but I think we need to keep him in the line up because there is no one else in the squad who really offers upside in our central midfield.

  11. Pretty much the same pattern as last season so far – scraping through home games against lesser teams by the old goal and struggling away from home against anyone half-decent.
    I see no discernible improvement from last season.

  12. JonJon,

    Totally agree. Just not convinced the team can be disciplined on a consistent basis. If they could the 3 CBs would be enough to do the job. For some reason the team uses the extra CB as another part of the attack. And it’s not just the indiscipline of one player. Kos pushed up all the time yesterday and Holding has done it regularly in the past. Given that Bellerin isn’t dropping back as much in the WB role as he maybe did in the FB, it seems reckless to have the right sided CB also pushing up.

    Would love to see Cazorla back taking that role in the middle of the pitch. I’m not sure that he will be back though.

  13. JJ, interesting theory on our 3 4 3 and the absence of a bona fide def/mid, maybe the players should sort it out between themselves because Arsene is seemingly incapable of instilling any kind of defensive discipline in this and for that matter previous Arsenal teams.
    Wasn’t it Tony Adams who had a word with Petit and Vieira back in the day and advised one of them to stay in situ when the other went forward.
    Why doesn’t Mertesaker suggest to Sead and Bellerin that it might be prudent to do likewise rather than have them both attacking at the same time?

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